Today I am going to talk a bit about our lifespan.  We Equi are among the longest lived races in the UGA, the United Galactic Alliance.  Though many of us are of mixed race and live a long time – 125 to 175 years as a rule – those of us who are full blooded Equi tend to have the longest lifespans, averaging 250 years. 

Because we live so long we have the luxury of growing up slowly.  We start required education at five and finish when we are twenty-six.  At that age we are still considered children.  By the time most of us finish Lycee, or specialized apprenticeships or both, we are about thirty-five years old.  At that point many of us travel for a few years, often with one of the services.

The average age for marriage is somewhere around forty-five, when we are considered young adults.  Most couples are married for ten to twenty years or longer before they have their first child, and many of those couples raise one child before having another.  The cultural norm is two children – two pregnancies – but twins are frequent, so some couples may have three, or on exceptionally rare occasions, four children.  Usually if twins are born, that is the only pregnancy. 

We are considered fully mature adults on our one hundredth Birthing Day.  From that point we can expect to live another 15o years.  My Grandsire and Granddam, Krush and Ah’rane, will soon celebrate their 110th wedding anniversary, which is one of “The Big Ones” and cause for much celebration. 

Some elders choose to travel and teach in their later years, or join one of the services as an ambassador, or even go back to Lycee or into an apprenticeship and learn a new trade.  In any case most Equi continue their life’s work to the end of their days.  My Final Form Master is also the Master of Education and one of the most respected elders on Equus.  Master Breton is 230 years old.  He taught both my parents and my grandparents.  His hair is silver and his face is weathered into a dramatic landscape, but he shows no signs of slowing down. 

While Master Breton teaches us much about the role of the Dragonhorse, he never mentions that the Thirteenth Dragonhorse is my uncle.  He does not pick me out, and I appreciate that.  He has mentioned on an occasion or two and with sadness, that he thinks they start the Dragonhorses too young.  He thinks 150 years of age would be better, but he also admits that only one hundred years of service might not be enough to accomplish all the things a Dragonhorse, or Firstlord, is expected to do during his reign.  With my lifespan, and if nothing tragic happens to me, I will be alive to witness the entire reign of the Thirteenth Dragonhorse.